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Eight Cooperation and Politeness in Literary Discourse: A Pragmatic Stylistic Approach Gabriela MissikovA

Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Slovakia/Tomas Bata University, Zlin, Czech Republic


This chapter aims to show that pragmatics, which is seen as the study of language use related to particular contexts and situations, can prove relevant to the study of literary discourse. This untraditional project of applying pragmatic theory to the study of literary (written) texts has raised objections from various authors. My aim is to claim that novelists create characters and situations in ways that are relevant to our interpretation of the discourse, and that pragmatic theories help us to understand the process of contextualization in literary texts. I explore linguistic interaction involving only written language, where paralanguage and extra-linguistic cues for interpretation of particular messages and (culture specific) aspects, such as (satirical) humour and irony, are lost. Main research problems include pragmatic approaches to irony, the Cooperative and Politeness principle. The language material analysed is a collection of short stories by Doris Lessing, London Observed (1993).

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